Braves-Mets Preview

Recent struggles haven't cost the New York Mets much in the NL East race, and having Bartolo Colon face the Atlanta Braves could get them untracked.

Colon attempts to become the first Mets pitcher to win all five starts against an opponent in a single season in 30 years Wednesday night.

New York (85-66) has dropped five of seven, equaling its loss total from its previous 24 games. Still, the Mets are atop the East by 6 1/2 games on second-place Washington with 11 to go.

They fell 6-2 on Tuesday, ending their five-game winning streak against the Braves (61-91).

"All of a sudden, we've hit a wall," manager Terry Collins said.

Collins now turns to Colon (14-12, 4.15 ERA), who is 8-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 10 career starts versus Atlanta.

The right-hander has won all four this year behind a 3.51 ERA. He can become the first Met to go 5-0 in five starts against an opponent since Dwight Gooden did it against the Chicago Cubs in 1985.

He'd also be the first to accomplish the feat against the Braves since Orel Hershiser in 1988.

Colon, though, is looking to bounce back from Wednesday's 6-0 loss to Miami. The right-hander gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings after going 4-0 with a 0.57 ERA over his previous five games - four starts - in a stretch that included a career-high 31 consecutive scoreless innings.

Colon served up two homers Wednesday after not allowing one since Aug. 26. The 24 he's allowed are a team high and the most he's given up since he was hit for 26 with the Los Angeles Angels in 2005.

"He's going to make you swing the bat," Collins told MLB's official website. "He's around the plate so much that sometimes they barrel up and he's had some issues of giving up the long ball."

The only home run he's allowed to Atlanta this year was to Jonny Gomes, who is now with Kansas City. Nick Swisher and A.J. Pierzynski are the only current Braves to have homered off Colon with two apiece.

Colon has been given four runs of support in every outing against Atlanta in 2015, but the Mets are averaging 2.3 runs while batting .210 over the past seven games. That includes a .115 average with runners in scoring position after going 0 for 8 on Tuesday.

Yoenis Cespedes is a major culprit, batting .154 without an RBI in that stretch after compiling a .382 average with nine homers and 19 RBIs over his previous 13 games. Additionally, Lucas Duda is in a 3-for-26 slump.

Those issues may continue since Atlanta's 4-1 stretch has been keyed by a 1.84 ERA. Rookie Matt Wisler provided the latest gem Tuesday, allowing two runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

Williams Perez (6-6, 5.16) kicked off the team's recent surge with a solid outing Friday, yielding one run in 5 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win over Philadelphia. He's 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA over his last three starts.

The rookie right-hander hasn't been sharp in two starts - both at home - against the Mets, going 1-0 despite allowing seven runs in 12 innings with 13 hits and five walks.

Curtis Granderson, Travis d'Arnaud and Daniel Murphy are a combined 9 for 15 with two homers and two doubles off Perez.

Murphy is hitting .407 with six doubles and 10 RBIs in his last seven games against Atlanta, doubling on three of his four hits in this series.


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